How I discovered
the best job
in the world.

PART 1

Tales too wrong not to be true.

When I founded Mirror in 2006, I didn’t know anything about recruiting. Not a lick.

Well, I suppose I had learned one thing in my first four years of growing our software agency: my developer colleagues really hated recruiters.

That made an impression, since developers are just about the nicest people I know.

“What could recruiters be doing so badly to cause my good-natured friends to despise them?”

1
2
3
1

Turns out, a lot.

Our team talked it out over a long lunch - something we call “Awesome Lunch Fridays” where the dev staff gets together for great rotating takeout and conversations.
The discussions are enlightening and inspiring, even if the food isn’t as awesome anymore (more greens and less carbs, sigh).

2

I listened
to the horror stories.

  • The tales of jobs and companies that didn’t exist.
  • The reluctance of recruiters to actually share the name of the company they were recruiting for.
  • The anonymous well-funded tech startup whose job description sounded like tech keywords in a popcorn machine.
3

The lunch kept going and,
somehow, the stories got worse.

I learned about having your resume submitted to dozens of companies without your consent. I heard of last-minute salary and title changes after many hours of invested time. I even learned of potential candidates submitted by recruiters to my own software agency who mysteriously ‘disappeared’ when we showed interest in interviewing them.

Using fake developers as bait ... who would have thought?
Not me!

PART 2

The Revelation.

I have to admit, while I listened to these tales I was chuckling at each story, but also thinking seriously in the background…

“I can do way better!”

And, while doing anything better often means not just doing it differently but discovering how to do it differently, here the solution seemed obvious: radical transparency to developers and startups, and a pursuit of long-term relationships at the expense of short-term transactions.

Fortunate that these qualities happened to be my natural inclinations anyhow, I decided to give it a shot. What did I have to lose?

PART 3

First steps
(and stumbles).

Well, I did get heckled. Really!
Candidly, I probably deserved it.

You see, what did I select as my first slogan for our experimental recruiting venture? The new venture based on radical honesty and optimism?

”We hate recruiters, too.”

In my defense, it was true.
And, it seemed to resonate with developers who had experienced firsthand many of the insane experiences they shared with me.

However, other recruiters didn’t appreciate it and they let me know (loudly!) during a charity event. For cancer research.

Somehow that proved both their point and mine, so I dropped the slogan, and carried on with our mission, joyfully and successfully to this day.

PART 4

The mission takes shape.

Real,
Transparent
Jobs

The job opportunities I’ll share with you are real, and at actively-hiring companies.

They’ve hired me to help them expand their team by adding new developers that are the ideal technical and cultural fits.

I’ve been told by developers that this transparency is rare, and by recruiters that this is crazy.

“Couldn’t the developers just
apply directly to the companies then?”

I suppose they could, but over the years that’s happened very rarely.

I believe that’s because developers recognize after connecting with me that our collaboration together and my relationship with hiring managers will help them accelerate their careers now and in the future.

What this means for you:

In our initial communications, I’ll openly and immediately share the names of the client companies that I think you might be interested in.

I'M ON YOUR TEAM

I strive to provide value in information, opportunities, and advice from the very beginning.

Genuinely
Interested
Developers

I only submit developers with their consent, and only to opportunities they’ve reviewed and asked me to pursue for them. I had naively assumed this was how all recruiters operated, but quickly realized this wasn’t the case when we engaged recruiters for our own agency hiring needs.

It seemed a bit odd when, immediately after engaging a recruiter, 20 resumes would land in my inbox. I’d sort through them (essentially, doing the recruiter’s job), select my favorites, and request an interview… only too often to hear that:

”The developer actually
wasn’t
interested in interviewing with us.”

This was insanity and,
unfortunately, quite common
I discovered.

This seemed like an obvious area for improvement in both trust and results.

So, it goes without saying, we will only submit a developer to a startup once they have thoughtfully considered the opportunity (with all of the relevant details, in light of the transparency above) and agreed to move forward.

"I believe the right way and the best way are the same way and we are all better for it."

Authentic Advice
& Collaboration

We promise we’ll be honest,
even if it’s not good news.

Most recruiters are focused on closing
offers at any cost.

Don’t we get paid for making placements?

So wouldn’t it always be best to make
the placement if at all possible?

A bad match doesn’t do any favors
to anyone, including us.

Authentic Advice
& Collaboration

We promise we’ll be honest,
even if it’s not good news.

Most recruiters are focused on closing
offers at any cost.

Don’t we get paid for making placements?

So wouldn’t it always be best to make
the placement if at all possible?

A bad match doesn’t do any favors
to anyone, including us.

After 15 years in this business,
I pride myself on being able to truly tell when there is a good match or when a match both sides are considering might be suboptimal.

Smart job choices now will lay the foundation for future career success for our developers.

It doesn't do a startup any good to hire quickly if that speed results in suboptimal fits that will create technical debt and institutional knowledge that bleeds when turnover inevitably occurs.

On our part, we’re building long-term relationships with our clients. Relationships are built on trust.

After 15 years in this business,
I pride myself on being able to truly tell when there is a good match or when a match both sides are considering might be suboptimal.

Smart job choices now will lay the foundation for future career success for our developers.

It doesn't do a startup any good to hire quickly if that speed results in suboptimal fits that will create technical debt and institutional knowledge that bleeds when turnover inevitably occurs.

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day I think
I have the best job in the world.

Brian landed me my first real job when I was just 20 (14 years ago now!). That first step was the beginning of an extremely fruitful career. Literally life-changing. It's always great to hear back from Mirror and see that they're still at it! Chris Vincent

I get to be myself, to provide authentic help and support to people and organizations that I cherish.

And I know from experience that that authentic counsel is not only what I enjoy, but what provides long-term fulfillment that makes this work so satisfying.

Brian tells it like it is, has good leads, and is understanding of what is needed from all parties. Peter Kajpust
Brian and the team at Mirror have always been extremely helpful any time that I was looking for a change in my career! They love to just have conversations about where you are and what you need, and give you practical insight on your journey. It’s such a pleasure every chance I get to work with them! Topher Fangio
Easily one of the nicest and most thoughtful people I've met in the industry. Always glad to hear from Mirror and work with Brian! Tyler Schlegel
Brian helped take my career to the next level and set me on a path to success. Aaron Suggs

I get to be myself, to provide authentic help and support to people and organizations that I cherish.

And I know from experience that that authentic counsel is not only what I enjoy, but what provides long-term fulfillment that makes this work so satisfying.

I'd very much welcome a connection with you wherever you are on your journey!

Brian Mariani FOUNDER
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